Grid pattern of small potted plants in blocks of green, purple, and red. They seem like little calendars of predictable life.


This class is designed 1) to survey theories of how writing works and 2) to introduce writing as both a field of study and a viable career path. As such, the material we read in class covers a range of approaches, from academic scholarship to professional blogs. The calendars below outline our approach and the topics we’ll study along the way. Additionally, details about the requirements of each unit can be found on the Assignments page. And finally, a combined, detailed calendar is also available.

Readings Calendar

TopicWeekAuthor & Text
Overview: Why Study Writing?
1Elizabeth Wardle’s “You Can’t Teach Writing in General” (See Canvas > Files for print; audio version also available) and Catherine Savini’s Looking for Trouble: Finding Your Way into a Writing Assignment
2 James Paul Gee’s Literacy, discourse, and linguistics: Introduction and one of these:
3Selections from the Digital Archives of Literacy Narratives and Kate McKinney Maddalena’s “I need you to say ‘I’”: Why First Person is Important in College Writing
Discourse Communities
4Jillian Grauman’s What’s That Supposed to Mean? Using Feedback on Your Writing and John Swales’ The concept of discourse community. [See Canvas > Files]
5Penrose & Geisler’s Reading and writing without authority
6Elizabeth Wardle’s Identity, authority, and learning to write in new workplaces. [See Canvas > Files]
7E. Shelley Reid’s Ten Ways To Think About Writing: Metaphoric Musings for College Writing Students
8Anne Lamott’s Shitty First Drafts [see Canvas > Files] and George Dila’s Rethinking the Shitty First Draft and Michaela Ramirez’s Writer’s Block is Easily Preventable
9Carol Berkenkotter’s Decisions and Revisions: The Planning Strategies of a Publishing Writer and Donald Murray’s Response of a Laboratory Rat: Or, Being Protocoled (same link)
10Nancy Allen, et al’s What Experienced Collaborators Say About Collaborative Writing [see Canvas > Files] and Alexus Yeakel’s Failure is Awesome
11Ann N. Amicucci’s Four Things Social Media Can Teach You about College Writing—and One Thing It Can’t and Lottridge et al.’s The effects of chronic multitasking on analytical writing.
12Melanie Gagich’s An Introduction to and Strategies for Multimodal Composing
and Michael J. Klein & Kristi L. Shackelford’s Beyond Black on White: Document Design and Formatting in the Writing Classroom
13Wiens’ I won’t hire people who use poor grammar. Here’s why and Bugan’s Being an immigrant writer in America today
14Passell’s Stephen King’s top 20 rules for writers and Gillespie’s Becoming your own expert: Teachers as writers and Schall’s Writing the conventional résumé and Mulvey’s How to write a cover letter that gets you hired

Assignment Calendar

LiteracyLiteracy Narrative + 2 blog posts
Discourse CommunitiesCommunity Ethnography +3 blog posts
ProcessProcess Theory Paper + 4 blog posts
TechnologyRemixed Essay + 2 blog posts
ProfessionalismRésumé and Cover Letter + 2 blog posts